Kishida said this was a “dramatic shift” in Japan’s security policy, but remained within the limits of the peace constitution and international law.
Kishida said, “I will make it clear that Japan’s non-nuclear and self-defense principles and its course as a peace-loving country will not change in the slightest.”
Kishida traveled to Washington earlier this month as part of a five-country tour to explain Japan’s new defense plan and further develop military ties with the United States. Japan plans to nearly double its defense budget to her 43 trillion yen ($474.6 billion) within five years and improve its cyberspace and intelligence capabilities.
Three-quarters of the annual defense budget could be squeezed out through spending and fiscal reforms, but the rest would have to come from potential tax increases, and Kishida has already faced mounting criticism from opposition lawmakers and the ruling party. I’m here.
He also faces a serious problem of population growth.
“We can’t spend time on child policy and child-rearing support,” he said. “We must create a child-centered economic society and improve the birth rate.”
Japan’s population of over 125 million has been declining for 14 years and is projected to fall to 86.7 million by 2060. A declining and aging population will have major implications for the economy and national security.
Kishida promised to step up financial support for families with children, including increasing scholarships, and said he would put together a plan by June.
Japan is the world’s third largest economy, but the cost of living is high and wage growth is slow. Conservative governments are lagging behind in making societies more inclusive for children, women and minorities.
Despite subsidies for pregnancy, childbirth and childcare, efforts to encourage more babies have had limited effect so far. Some experts say government subsidies tend to target parents who already have children, rather than removing problems that discourage young people from starting families.
Separately, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki warned that Japan’s finances were becoming increasingly unstable.
“Japan’s fiscal situation is unprecedentedly tight as it drafted a supplementary budget to respond to the coronavirus and similar issues,” Suzuki told parliament.
His warning comes at a time when markets are testing whether the central bank will keep interest rates ultra-low and the government will be able to service its debt.
Japan’s public debt is more than double the annual economic output, making it the heaviest burden in the developed world.
Governments have been aided by near-zero bond yields, but bond investors have recently tried to break yields. Bank of JapanWith inflation at its highest level in 41 years, capping 10-year Treasury yields at 0.5% would be double the central bank’s target of 2%.
Suzuki reiterated the government’s goal of achieving an annual budget surplus in the fiscal year ending March 2026.